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Dec. 9th, 2012


Roommate wanted: Shoreline, WA

Posting about this again because I'm still looking; for people who are too far away for this to be remotely interesting even in a context of someone else's potential interest, I beg your indulgence.

I'm still scrambling for someone to occupy the MBR in this house. It's huge and beautiful and includes its own bathroom, dressing area, and a walk-in closet bigger than some rooms I've lived in all on its own. The house is in a lovely quiet part of Shoreline, right up against the Seattle border, and close to everything from shopping to bus routes to I-5, while being offset from the road enough to avoid noise or dangerous roads. I'd let it go for a straight financial exchange, for the right roommate (in that context, it's $650/month plus utilities), but my preference is to trade part or all of the rent for work. Housekeeping and babysitting my two grade-schoolers, to be specific.

If it's being traded for the complete rent (including an extra hundred or so in utilities -- water, sewer, electric, heat, gas, plus some of the luxury utilities like cable TV and wireless internet), the job is about 25hrs a week. Mostly afternoons, starting with picking my kids up at school at 3PM and taking care of them until 8PM M-Th, till 6PM Fri, except for the evenings when I take them instead, which will vary but I always give warning of what I'll need when, and negotiate details to my tenant's needs as well as my own. Housework like dishes (there is a dishwasher, it just needs to be loaded and run), laundry, cleaning up, etc. would need to be done during the babysitting time; I count heavily on my tenant to keep their eyes open for what needs to be done and do it without being told, since I'm often not as much aware of what's going on in the rest of the house as they are. I'm usually in my room studying or resting if I'm home and not with the kids. The other chunk of time would be mornings, 7:00-8:00AM, to get the kids fed breakfast and chivvied into readiness, and take them to school. Total time ranges from 20-28 hours in a given week, averaging about 23. Weekends are always off-duty, as the kids are with their father then.

The other, part-work option on the room is to pay $500/month including rent and all utilities, and then do two evenings a week of babysitting and get the basic housework done at the same time. It's better for people with outside jobs, especially full-time... it's possible to do the first option with a part-time job, if the hours dovetail properly, but not a full-time one. This form, it is, if someone has a reasonable amount of energy and organization.

Or it can be paid for in pure cash, with no work involved. In that case, it's $650 plus an extra $100/month covering all utilities, and at that point I use the rent money to hire the work done by someone else altogether.

If anyone knows of someone who might be a good fit for this arrangement, please point them this way or let me know? I really want to get this sorted out quickly; I'd had someone who intended to move in a week ago, and they backed out at the last moment, so I'm struggling to get someone good quickly. This is public; please feel free to signal boost if you have acquaintances in the Seattle area or who might want to be!

This entry was originally posted at http://pocketnaomi.dreamwidth.org/21101.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Nov. 6th, 2012


Roommate wanted: Shoreline, WA

My tenant/housekeeper is moving out at the start of December, so I need someone to rent the enormous, beautiful master bedroom in my house. It'd be great if I could keep this within the community, so in addition to posting it on Craigslist, I'm posting it here where friends and friends-of-friends may see it. Signal boosting is encouraged.

The room is gigantic. 14 feet by 22, and that's just the main bedroom area -- there is also a dressing area with vanity sink, a private bathroom with large stall shower, and a walk-in closet bigger than some rooms I've lived in. It's got a wall full of south-facing windows (not to be confused with south-going Zaxes) that keep it reasonably well-lit even in Seattle winters, and it comes with all utilities, including cable TV and wireless internet.

The house you'd be sharing with us is a one-story single-family home on a quiet residential street just north of the official Seattle border. We're two blocks from the park, two from the commuter bus stop, and six from the entrance to the highway, so we're very much in the middle of everything, but positioned so we don't get traffic noise. We have a living room (with sofabed for your friends to visit, and treadmill if you want to get your exercise without leaving home), an open kitchen/dining area (with a dishwasher), a small backyard (with garden plot if you're into growing stuff), a laundry room with full-sized washer and dryer, and a three-car garage that's fairly full but still has some room if you need to store some things (and also has a second fridge and a chest freezer, so we will not run out of food storage space!).

Who are we? A single mom, 42: queer, progressive, semi-disabled, filker, semi-fannish. I'm in an intensive massage therapy vocational school program this year, and I'm also severely fibromyalgic, which means I am pretty much up to my eyeballs in Stuff That Needs Done. This will become relevant in a paragraph or so, when we get to the rent. Also two kids, ages eight and six: sweet, smart, and remarkably well-behaved for their age (and no, I'm not the only one who says that).

Rent: this is where things get interesting. Because we can do this in any number of ways. If you want to rent the room outright, for money, I'm asking $750/month including all utilities. But up till now, I have been accepting all or part of the rent in the form of household help: babysitting during the afternoons and evenings, doing dishes and laundry, grocery shopping, and keeping the kids' room, my room, and the public areas of the house clean. Also cooking for the kids, when you're on duty watching them, and occasional other errands (if you're going to want to do the work-for-rent version of this, you will need a car of your own to pick the kids up from school in, and go shopping and the like). To work off the full cost of the room, I'd ask about 20-25 hours a week; if you want to pay part of it in money and go less than that, that's also possible, depending on the specifics. I need to make sure that the combination of the money I take in and the help I get directly will allow me to cover the jobs I need done, but I'm not picky about whether my tenant wants to do the work on their own or pay me what I need to hire someone else to do it.

[Note, because I've been asked: yes, it is possible to put a couple, or a parent and child, in the room. If you want to do that, I'd ask a little more than if you're putting one person in it, because of the crowding it leads to in the household in general, but I'm open to the possibility.]

If anyone knows of someone who's looking for a terrific place to live in the Seattle area, especially if they can't afford much in cash but want to work it off, please pass the information on!

This entry was originally posted at http://pocketnaomi.dreamwidth.org/17949.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Sep. 30th, 2012


Safe spaces, Readercon, and me

Another public post, also with comments screened so that, I hope, people will feel free to speak.

Most people reading this will probably have heard of the episode which occurred at Readercon last summer (if only because I posted on the subject a few times since). I was not at the convention, but I was deeply distressed to hear what had happened there, because when I was much younger and first tentatively venturing back into SF fandom after a sexual assault at a convention frightened me away as a teenager, Readercon was the first convention I dared attend again. At the time, in the late nineties, it had a reputation as 'safe space' insofar as anyplace can be. I have felt very strongly since hearing about the events of this year's convention that I wanted to do everything I could to make it so again.

Fortunately, I'm far from the only one with that reaction. The Readercon concom, after a briefly disastrous misstep by the Board, took over and overrode their decision, issuing a statement I think was about as well-done as is possible in dealing with a mess like that. One of the things they said in it was that they intended to create a new Safety Committee, which would be in charge of developing a new set of policies from the ground up, to make Readercon both be and feel as safe a place as possible for everyone who attends. I volunteered for the new committee and was accepted as a member.

The Safety Committee is just forming, having taken a while to sort out its membership, but one thing we know from the beginning: we need input from the community, as much of it as possible, to be able to set policy intelligently for a convention which answers to that community. So I'm asking for your advice. What would you like to see in a document which lays out safety policies for a convention with the goal of both being in practice and feeling to the participants like a safe place for everyone? What concerns would you like to see addressed, and how would you address them?

Comments screened; if you don't specify that you're willing to have yours unscreened, I will leave it that way. That means I can't respond to anything which doesn't say specifically that it's okay to unscreen it, but I'll read everything, and bring it all to the safety committee when we start discussing ideas. Thank you all in advance for your thoughts! We want every one.

This entry was originally posted at http://pocketnaomi.dreamwidth.org/16736.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Information, please?

I'm trying to sort out who's speaking to me.

I'm not trying to press anyone who doesn't want to be anymore. I'm aware that, in the long-term fallout from a particularly nasty and violent breakup, there's going to be people who don't want anything to do with me, just as there will be people who don't want anything to do with my ex. I have tried to make clear to my friends that I don't particularly want them to dump her; I have no idea what she's done, if anything, on the same subject, but it's not my business, and I'm not trying to find out. I am trying to find out who within the local (West Coast or so) filk/fandom community is still willing to be my friend, or at least be on reasonably amicable social terms with me, and who isn't. [Added: If you're not local but have any reason to think I don't know this about you, please feel free to comment as well.]

There are a very few people whom I know the answer about because they've made it extremely clear, but short of attempting to slap me or something, I'm trying hard not to fall into the trap of trying to "read signals," because I don't trust myself not to get it wrong. So I'm setting this public, and I'm allowing all comments but screening them. [It will be re-set private after a period of time, because for professional reasons, I can't have much personal information available outside a friendslock over the long term, but I'll leave it open for quite a while first.] Anyone who wants to use the opportunity to tell me your preferences, I will welcome the information from you. If you do want to be friendly with me, I'm glad of it. If you don't (either because of the situation with my ex or for any other reason), I'll leave you to walk away with no rancor, and I promise to do my best to stay out of your way and not bother you in future. I'd just really like to know how you'd like me to treat you; I don't like to pester people who don't like me, and while I will be sorry to lose anyone who chooses not to be friendly, I'd rather at least know that, by staying away from you, I'm treating you the way you want me to treat you.

If you don't yet know me from Adam's off ox, but you have nothing therefore against me and wouldn't mind making my acquaintance, I'd be happy to get comments to that effect, also. New friends are always welcome!

This entry was originally posted at http://pocketnaomi.dreamwidth.org/16476.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Aug. 4th, 2012


Readercon and me

This is the full text of what I wrote to the Readercon concom today. It's a long story, and one which many people who know me closely have heard the vague outlines of, but which I have not told to anyone in detail. Even the person who figures largely in the second piece of the story, the friend who helped encourage me back into fandom in the late nineties, doesn't know the details of the first part; only the outline. The details are here. They are here because I felt it was important for the concom to know it; and because I am learning many things lately about coming out of the shadows; about not allowing the predators who attack me to control the truth I speak. The header to the email was, "An outsider's inside story."

To the Readercon concom,

I've been following the story of what happened at this year's Readercon, involving Rene Walling, Genevieve Valentine, and the Board's decision regarding discipline of Mr. Walling. I understand that the concom is in the process of deciding what to do in the wake of the outcry which followed the Board's decision. I understand and sympathize with the difficult position the concom is in here, and it's not my intention to try to pressure a decision of any kind. Because I wasn't able to attend this year's Readercon, I don't feel I have a right to do that. Rather, I want to tell you a story which may be relevant in deciding for yourselves what you want to do, and realizing what implications that decision may have in the long term.

In 1986, I was a sixteen-year-old girl. I'd been involved in SF conventions since the age of 13, and even though I was a shy child and a little nervous of the exuberant culture, I loved it. I had a lot of somewhat older friends in fandom, or people I considered friends; and I loved the excitement of conventions even while remaining a bit of a quiet observer there.

Then there was one particular convention. Not Readercon, as it happens -- I was from New York and I'd never heard of Readercon yet. This was a Lunacon -- Lunacon 1986. There was a man there whose name I will not reveal, except to say that I've heard nothing of him in twenty years, and have no idea whether he is still involved in fandom, but have no reason to believe he has anything to do with Readercon or this incident. He was in his thirties in 1986. He was well-known, he was popular. He had a certain cachet of sympathy because he claimed (I do not know whether it was true) to be fighting cancer. And he decided that he was interested in me.

I was completely panicked. I tried to avoid him and he stalked me throughout the convention, following me from room to room, calling in favors from friends to switch seats with him to be next to me. Eventually, my fear and anger overcame my shyness and I told him directly that I wasn't interested in him and I wanted him to leave me alone. He smiled broadly and told me that of course he would. Then he left the room, winking at me from the doorway as he left. I thought the wink was merely his exuberant personality, or at worst a sign of one-upmanship, his pride not letting him leave without a last sign that he was in control after all.

Late that night, I left the open filking and went up to my room. I was alone and expected no harm; my roommates would be at the filk till dawn. I found him in the otherwise-deserted hallway outside my room, and the elevator door closed behind me before I could turn around and go back into it. In several long strides, he bounded down the hall to where I was and seized my arm.

"What's wrong with you?" he demanded. "I only want to talk to you."

"I told you I didn't want to talk to you. Leave me alone."

"Don't talk to me like that. You know I like you. There's nothing wrong with a man liking you, little girl, and you'd better get used to it!" His anger was starting to show, now.

I didn't keep trying to argue. I tried to wrench away. He grabbed me tighter and forced a wet kiss on me, and sheer rage (combined with some gymnastic talent) let me yank myself free and run down the hall to my room. My hand shook as I put the key in the door and I barely got it open by the time he got there. He jammed his foot in it, trying to force it open and yelling through it that he was out of patience with me and I'd fucking well better get onto the goddamned bed with my legs open because he was sick of waiting.

I reached one skinny leg through the door and stomped on his foot as hard as I could. He howled and pulled it back reflexively. I slammed the door and it automatically locked, as hotel room doors do. I fastened every additional lock that door had and then I fell to the ground, sobbing hysterically. I don't know when he left. I didn't hear anything except my own tears.

The next day, shaken and terrified, I sought out my friends. They were mostly adults in their early twenties and I counted on their protection. I was stunned at what I received instead. There were a few who thought that he'd been obnoxious in his pursuit; one who even said she'd tell him to back off. But the general consensus was expressed by the leader of the pack, who drew herself up coldly and informed me that his behavior had been exclusively my fault. Why? "You shouldn't have said 'no' without a good reason.'

At the time, I was too young and startled to say what I should have, which was, "'I DON'T WANT TO' *is* a good reason!" I simply made my way back to my room, gathered my things, and left the convention early. I didn't return to fandom for twelve years.

Fast-forward to 1999. I'm a grown woman now, 29 years old, and more confident in handling myself. My good friend Josh, a decent man who's also active in SF fandom and not at all like the people I knew when I was an adolescent, starts trying to lure me back into fandom. Josh persuaded me that Readercon was a "safe" SF con. Serious, focused on the written word, and with a deep commitment to making sure that people are safe there and that the "party atmosphere" doesn't get out of hand and hurt people, he said. I agreed, fear making me nearly sick to my stomach, to go.

The con, bless it, was as uneventful as advertised. I stuck to Josh like glue. He promised me he'd keep me safe, and was as good as his word. For the next five years, as I slowly eased my way back into fandom, I refused to go to a convention without a male escort who was committed to sticking close to me and protecting me. Eventually, I found my niche at filk-only cons, which are small enough that I know so high a percentage of the attendees as to feel confident that at any given time, if I scream for help, there will be *someone* within reach who cares enough about me to help me. I do attend a few gencons, but for those, I still ask a friend to stay close to me. I don't trust the environment, and I probably never will.

I want you to think about several things from my story as you make up your mind what to do about the incident which happened at Readercon this year. I want you to think how long the pain and the terror lasts in a woman who's faced the kind of treatment from a man which makes her fear for her safety. I'm 42 years old now, and shaking as I type this. I will probably never feel entirely comfortable at a con again. I want you to think about the way it might have gone if my friends, the people whom I deeply believed would help me and protect me, had chosen to fulfill that obligation instead of supporting my assailant and betraying my trust. Would it have made things easier to cope with? I think so. I would still have been upset and frightened and sick, but I would only have mistrusted one man, not the whole culture which I had previously felt was mine.

But most of all, I want you to think about the reputation that Readercon had in 1999. The reputation of being the convention at which a traumatized young woman could feel safe -- so safe that it made the ideal place to test the waters, the place where she could regain her courage before going on to find, in a renewed acquaintance, the best of fandom instead of its worst.

Do you think it will be considered so ten years from now? That depends on what you do.

Thank you,

Naomi Rivkis

This entry was originally posted at http://pocketnaomi.dreamwidth.org/14469.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Jun. 19th, 2012


Update: (re: Calling for Help)

OK, first let me say a huge thank you to everybody who contributed valuable advice as well as just plain sympathy and good wishes about the pile of unbelievable crap my health insurance company has decided to pile on my head. I've spent the last two days frantically researching and calling everyone on the planet who could possibly be able to help me sort it out, and it looks as if I have a plan.

Step 1: pick up my July's supply of Lyrica in June, before the July 1 cutoff date after which they won't cover it anymore. That's being paid for by my mother, since I didn't expect to have to refill it till into July so didn't have the extra... and it's over $200 even with the insurance company's share.

Step 2: Get the pharmacy to fax an invoice over to the NW Network, the incredible group of guardian angels who have been running my support groups, listening to me whimper by phone for an hour once a week, researching the law for me, and otherwise doing absolutely anything a DV survivor could possibly need help with, whether it has anything directly to do with my ex or the assault or not. The Network will give me a check made out to the pharmacy, for the amount of August's supply of Lyrica, in full.

Step 3: While in New York, attempt to fill the August supply of Lyrica, preferably a few days early so there's some wiggle room for everyone to do their thing. (I can do this from a continent away because Walgreen's has branches everywhere; as much as I normally loathe the big nationwide/multinational corporations, they do have occasional advantages.) The pharmacy will try to run it, get it bounced because it's nonformulary, and tell me, "Sorry, we can't get insurance coverage. Do you want to fill it anyway?"

Step 4: At this point, I do two things. I hand them the check from the Network and tell them, "Yes, I do; here's the money for it." I also tell them, "Please fax my doctor the forms he will have to fill out in order to get an override from the insurance company for this medicine in the future."

Step 5: My doctor, whose very kind and sensible nurse has just taken down all the information from me that he's likely to need about which other medications I have tried and why none of them are remotely possible in my particular case, will fill out forms, call and yell at them, or do whatever else he needs to do in order to get September's supply (and all later supplies until the company does something else obnoxious). If there is any information he needs which I haven't already supplied him, or if there is anything I have to fill out personally in order to get the appeal through, his office will call me and tell me.

Step 6: While all of this is going on, however, I have my August supply already paid for by the Network, so I have a month in which to see what the result is. I will meantime have filled out the form for the Pfizer assistance program, and gathered all the documentation I need in order to apply for it. I won't send that form yet. I'll hold it, and if the appeal is turned down, I'll still have a couple of weeks' supply (and the Network has said it might be able to spring for another month if absolutely necessary) with which to function until Pfizer makes a decision.

I think this will work. I think.

This entry was originally posted at http://pocketnaomi.dreamwidth.org/13749.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Jun. 17th, 2012




My insurance company, Grouphealth, has just informed me that on the first of July, barely two weeks from now, they will stop paying anything whatsoever for my Lyrica medication because it is "nonformulary." Never mind the fact that Lyrica is not only formulary for fibromyalgia according to the FDA, it is the *ONLY* formulary-for-fibro medication. What does the insurance company, in the infinite wisdom of its form letter, advise? That I talk to my doctor and see about getting onto a different medication which is on their formulary list. There aren't any, but even if there were any for my disorder, it wouldn't help me -- I've tried every medication, on and off-label, which has ever been reputed to help with fibro pain, and Lyrica is the only foundation medication (as distinguished from the opiate 'rescue meds') which does me any good at all.

I have put in a call to my doctor, but I don't know if I'll even get a reply from him within two weeks, let alone an appointment to strategize, let alone an appeal written up and sent in to the company. If he does put in an appeal, and if I win it (big if), I'll still end up paying more for the Lyrica than the current $250/month... but the price if I don't get any help from GroupHealth is $600. I know I can't change insurance companies because I have a pre-existing condition; and whatever the laws may be which prevent companies from denying me insurance because of that, they don't prevent them from denying me the company I want, when I already have a company I don't.

What do I need from my friends? Advice, and backup. I need brainstorming about ideas I haven't thought of, and I need signal-boosting so that my situation might make its way to activists willing to help, if only so that they can use me as a cause. I'm hoping to pressure GroupHealth into changing its policy and listing Lyrica -- and anything else the FDA approves for fibromyalgia -- as formulary for fibromyalgia, so that their regular formulary rates still ally. For that, I need people who are used to organizing and getting word out... I'm sure that some people who know people who know people who are on my friends lists will know some of them.

Please pass the word along. Let anyone you know who's doing activism around health care know about this, and put them in contact with me. I hereby authorize ANYONE to give my email address to anybody who's offered to help with this process. If you don't know anyone in those fields, please boost the signal along; maybe someone you know will know someone.

Thank you. I'm very frightened. I'd just applied to massage therapy school and hoped to go back and get a licence which would allow me to earn a living in a year, when my spousal maintenance runs out, but there is no way I will be able to get through school (let alone get work afterwards, and keep it) without this medicine.

This entry was originally posted at http://pocketnaomi.dreamwidth.org/13348.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Jan. 26th, 2012


Generic public statement

The short version is that things are getting better between me and cflute. We'll never be a couple again, neither one of us has the slightest interest in being a couple again, but we're making progress toward being able to get along.

Part of that progress is a joint decision to refrain from any public internet posts about each other after this one. Private -- as in, not merely friendslocked by via opt-in filter only -- is still permitted, but I hope we'll both be able to be substantially less bitter in those.

If anyone wants to follow the details of what actually goes on in the course of, hopefully, continuing to make progress, feel free to opt into that tight filter via comment here. All comments will be screened and I will not reply to them, so that they don't come unscreened. I'll just add you without saying so.

To everyone else, thank you for being patient with us, and the issue is now closed.

Jan. 21st, 2012


Considering migration

Not physical, though I'd love to if I could take my children with me. Since that ain't happening soon, and because LJ is being a dick one time too many even for me, I'm probably migrating my journal to Dreamwidth and staying put there. No, I won't crosspost, I don't want to bother learning how and I won't be following comments both places anyway. Most of the time these days I use Facebook for telling people what's going on with me anyway, because I do my politics there anyhow and it's easier. But I will keep a journal, mostly for when I want to say more than a quick status update.

So, for the people who want to find me, you can likely find me there instead of here. And since the hardest part of establishing myself there is getting a friendslist set up out of nothing instead of here where I've assembled a fairly large one piece by piece, if you'd like to be on said friendslist there, please comment here and tell me so. Or comment there, for that matter. My username there is pocketnaomi, same as it is here.

Jan. 16th, 2012


An apology, to the friends who clearly ARE here

I said this in the comment thread in a different post, but I wanted to make sure it was more visible.

...you're absolutely right that the fear and pain are distorting my impressions. I'm sorry if I wasn't thinking clearly enough to label this post specifically, so people would know that this was how I felt more than how I think. Truth is, I not only don't really believe that I'm getting my sympathy -- how could I, with all these wonderful people answering me here? -- but also truly don't mind my ex getting it too. I just wanted it to be 'too' rather than 'instead of', and that's been made pretty clear here, and I appreciate it a lot.

The problems are (as most problems are) more confined to specific details than all over the broad strokes that I, and most people, paint with when I'm feeling devastated. I'm concerned by the complete lack of friends who both live nearby enough and are close enough emotionally to me that I can call them and ask them to come help me with something, whether the something is practical or emotional. That's a specific issue, though, not a general one like "I'm not getting any sympathy from anyone," which is clearly not true.

I'm realizing, in the slightly more pulled-together light of a new morning, that I might have seemed to be discounting the friends who have shown sympathy to me all along by implying that I didn't have any, and I never meant to do that. I'm more grateful for the people who care about me than I can say, whether they live in the third bedroom down the hall or halfway around the world. I feel alone right now, not because of anything anyone else has done or failed to do, but because I'm overwhelmed and hurting, and that's not the fault of my friends, and I'm very sorry I've sounded ungrateful. I'm not, truly.

I'm also sorry I've let myself get drawn down the rabbit-hole of answering untruths instead of concentrating on my own life. It's not useful, it's not my business, and it's not where I'm going to go again. I have a serious knee-jerk reaction about inaccuracy, even when it's unintentional (as I'm sure these were), and especially when they're about me. But that's not where I need my energy to go, and heaven knows there's enough places where I do need it to go, and little enough energy, that I'm going to try and just stay centered and out of any more conflicts.

Thank you to everyone who's shown such patience with me, even when I've made mistakes in how to deal with a difficult time. I love and appreciate you all. And I know you're there, even though I wish most of you were a lot closer. :)

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